Meticulously put in stone on a concrete bench. Many passers-by wonder what is happening in the big tent in the middle of the redesigned square at the beginning of the Appelgaarde. Local residents can be found at any time of the day. They are working on the « SocialSofa ». SocialSofa is a project with which you can make a nice sofa and at the same time get to know your neighbors better. The bank has been there since 18 June, immediately after the corona ban was lifted at meetings. Astrid de Roos, initiator of the project, hopes that the bank will be ready in early September.
Astrid tells about the design that was made. The motto is simple: the blossom and the apple tree after the street name, the ditch plants, fish, birds and pets after what you can encounter in the area. Very prominently in the front seat, the kingfisher has been given a place that visits the ditch at the backyards every winter, but Piglet the cat and the border collie of local residents have also been drawn. With every colored stone that is glued to the sofa, the design comes to life. After a short course in which almost thirty people have taken part, everyone cuts and pastes like a complete mosaicist. Children also participate enthusiastically.
The SocialSofa van de Appelgaarde is the first bench to be installed in Houten. Elsewhere there are already about 1500 benches, all made after an idea by a Tilburg artist. Astrid says: “I started this initiative at the beginning of this year and I received a lot of support from creative neighborhood residents and from the municipality. The municipality first redesigned the square. Local residents have adopted the new flower beds (Ons groen) and made the design for the bank. I also hope that there will be more such benches in Houten. ”
With the enthusiasm with which everyone is now engaged, the greening square and the SocialSofa are a project that will start working.